JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – In the six months ended December 2012, London-listed Stellar Diamonds increased the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (Jorc)-compliant inferred resources for its Tongo and Droujba projects to 1.07-million and 2.92-million carats, respectively, pushing the company’s global resource to four-million carats, CEO Karl Smithson said on Tuesday.
“The first half of 2013 will now be dedicated to the completion of the conceptual economic scoping studies to better define the project economics at Tongo and Droujba. We have appointed experienced independent contractors Paradigm Project Management to conduct these studies, which are well under way and on track to be delivered within the designated time frame.
“A decision will then be made on whether to advance Tongo and Droujba to the prefeasibility stage in the second half of 2013,” he said in a statement.
Stellar Diamonds nonexecutive chairperson Lord Daresbury indicated that the company continued to make good progress and that its teams had met all key milestones in the establishment of its maiden resource statements.
“At that time, we declared Jorc-compliant inferred resources of 660 000 ct at the Tongo project and 2.47-million carats at the Droujba project. We decided to increase these resource bases through further drilling and by the end of 2012 had increased the resources to over one-million carats at Tongo and three-million carats at Droujba, for a combined total resource of four-million carats for the company,” he said.
Daresbury further said the company’s focus had shifted towards completing conceptual economic scoping studies at Tongo, in Sierra Leone, and Droujba, in Guinea, which would essentially define project economics to within a 35% accuracy. This would effectively be the onset of prefeasibility and would give Stellar a low-cost, preliminary analysis of aspects such as mine and plant design, capital budget, operating costs and financial modelling.
“Depending on these results, we will then advance the projects to the prefeasibility stage where more accurate figures will be attained as the resources are moved to the indicated status,” Daresbury said.
Despite the rough diamond market showing weakness in the second half of 2012 as global economic uncertainty continued, Stellar remained bullish on the market in the medium to long term, as there had been no significant changes to the supply-demand imbalance forecasts.
Stellar Diamonds stated that rough diamond consumption remained robust in China and India and growth was slowly returning to the US market, which was anticipated to underpin the growing demand forecasts.
Supply was flat-lining and would decrease unless there were significant new sources of output, hence the forecast supply deficit persisted.